Prepare in Advance and Provide Rehearsal

  • Discuss the event you’re planning to attend:
    • Where it will be,
    • How you’re going to get there,
    • Who will be there — so your child will know what to expect and won’t have to deal with surprises.
  • Tell them whatever details they need to know to adjust to the idea.
  • Let them know what you expect from them,
    • How you want them to behave, and
    • What the consequences will be if they don’t.
    • Remind them several times.
  • Make the necessary provisions to support your child. Be aware of sensory overload (especially for your autistic spectrum children), and identify a space for where your child can take a sensory break.  Build it into the plan.

 

  • If your child is overwhelmed by sensory inputs, it will challenge your child’s ability to be on their best behavior. Sources of  sensory overloads may include:
    • Loud conversations
    • Scented candles
    • Decorative lights that are twinkling everywhere
    • Bright Lights

 

  • Identify a time off space
    • Ask a relative if there is a quiet place your child can go to if she is overwhelmed.
    • If you’re having people at your home, set up a safe place for your child to go to if he/she needs to cool down. (Plan these out ahead of time and use rehearsal)…
    • Perhaps make your child’s room off-limits to everybody but him or her, and encourage your child to use it as a refuge when things get overwhelming. Your child might need some place quiet and chaos-free to decompress after so much family exposure.
    • If you’re in a situation where a quiet place is not possible, bring distraction items, such as an iPod, favorite book, or drawing supplies to help your child focus on her comfort items.  It is more socially acceptable for kids and teens to “tune out” with these items than to negatively act out in someone’s home.
    • As a last effort, the bathroom can always provide a moment of sanctuary.

 

  • You can use the daily plan format with which your child is familiar. Or use a white board to show a visual of expectations and events.  Sometimes it is helpful for the child to actually write it out and then cross things off, or erase if they are completed (this will help the information get into working memory).
  • You can use room time as a strategy to help with transitions